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« Re: Don’t let ’em get you, Miley | Main | Daily roundup »

April 29, 2008

Granola Worldview

C.S. Lewis has an explanation of why I get easily annoyed at the perfectionism displayed on home design TV shows and get turned off by what I call the “granola” parents -- parents who are extremely finicky and structured with their young children’s activities, schedule and diet as if it's the right and only way of parenting.

In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis discusses gluttony from a totally different angle.  "[The deadening of the human conscience on gluttony] has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess," he has Screwtape write to Wormwood.

Your patient's mother . . . is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sigh and a smile, "Oh please, please . . . all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast." You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others.

Lewis gives the example of food having to be prepared just right, or in just the right amount. But it isn't limited to food; we (myself included) might complain about little things such as the slow driver ahead of us, the small service mistake from a restaurant, the temperature in the room, the color of a Post-it pad or the amount of foam on our cappuccino. We’re not aware of it, but we can come up with hundreds of nice words to disguise our fussing over simple things and expecting other people to serve and make things right for us. We insist on being pampered and having things exactly "my way" rather than learning to be patient and understanding about the minor inconveniences of life.

Sadly, very few dare to point out how petty or foolish this is, and in fact perfectionism and a “granola” lifestyle are now being admired and praised (especially in Hollywood) as if they were virtues.

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anne morse

I wonder how much Lewis's ideas on persnickity gluttony were inspired by that awful woman he lived with for so many years...the one who expected him to wait on her hand and foot.

Grizzly Bear Mom

Jason, I see these "petty" annoyances in myself. I am convicted. Thank you.

April Lorier

I lived with a gluttonous woman all of my childhood. She was a perfectionist, but never got anything done. She demanded perfection from us, but never gave any herself. I totally understand this "different view" of gluttony!

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